INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—No. 3 seed Michigan State crushed No. 6 Northwestern 68-55 Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan State got plenty of help from junior guard Chris Hill, who had 17 points and two steals, and from sophomore guard Maurice Ager, who had 14 points.
Northwestern senior forward Jitim Young led all players with 24 points and also added three steals and four rebounds. He could not single-handedly keep Northwestern in the game, however, and the Wildcats fell behind by as many as 22 points midway through the second half before eventually narrowing the gap to only 13 points.
Michigan State is no doubt looking forward to avenging its most recent loss to Wisconsin March 2 in East Lansing; a win would have given the Spartans a share of the conference title. Wisconsin and Michigan State fought tooth-and-nail into overtime, with the Badgers squeaking by with a 68-64 win.
"You always want (another shot at Wisconsin) because we had a chance to get our championship that we wanted and they took that from us," junior forward Alan Anderson said.
Missing from part of the Wisconsin game was sophomore center Paul Davis, who will play against Wisconsin Saturday. Davis had 25 points in 28 minutes before leaving the March 2 game due to cramps in both legs. He played 20 minutes against Northwestern and scored 10 points.
"One thing, only playing 20 minutes, he should be able to play 45 minutes tomorrow. He's fine," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said.
Who: No. 2 seed Wisconsin (22-6) vs. No. 3 Michigan State (18-10)
Site: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
When: Saturday, March 13, 3:05 p.m. CST
Series notes: The last time these two teams faced each other in the Big Ten Tournament, it was a preview of the eventual Final Four rematch. No. 2 seed Michigan State defeated No. 6 Wisconsin 78-66 in the semifinals March 11, 2000, and went on to take down No. 4 Illinois 76-61 in the conference championship game. Michigan State defeated Wisconsin 53-41 April 1 in the NCAA semifinals and then beat Florida 89-76 to claim the national title two days later.
Wilkinson, Harris too much for Gophers - game story
Michigan State downs Wildcats - Spartans tip off with UW at 3:05 p.m. CST Saturday
Wisconsin's defense badgers Gophers - Minnesota notes
Photo gallery 1 - Michael Conroy
Photo gallery 2 - Darron Cummings
Photo gallery 3 - Matthew Kutz
Wisconsin 66, Minnesota 52 - line score
Illinois, Michigan advance - Tip off at 12:40 p.m. CST Saturday